Indiana sports betting officially will begin Sunday, the first day allowable under state law.
The Indiana Gaming Commission issued its initial round of go-live authorizations Wednesday to five casinos.
Three of them will open the doors to their retail Indiana sports betting Sunday:
- Ameristar East Chicago
- Hollywood Casino
- Indiana Grand
Also receiving approval were another Horseshoe Hammond for Sept. 4 and French Lick Casino for Sept. 6. All will open before the first weekend of the NFL season.
“These five casinos have substantially demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commission that they’ve met every requirement so far,” said Sara Gonso Tait, executive director of the IGC.
Ameristar will have Chicago Bears legends Mike Ditka and Devin Hester place the first wagers. Hollywood Casino lined up former Cincinnati Bengals and USC star Anthony Munoz, along with former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Tony Perez.
Indiana sports betting rules finalized before launch
At Wednesday’s meeting, the IGC also approved emergency rules for IN sports betting. The final version of the rules contains several changes from suggestions made by stakeholders, Tait said:
- Removed reference to the commission considering whether a potential operator or provider operated in a black market.
“It was our determination that regulatory framework already includes broad authorization for us to look into suitability, so there wasn’t a regulatory need to have a second coverage on prohibited markets,” Tait said. “We could lump it under our general suitability standards.”
- Specifies that individual Indiana colleges and universities may request that geofencing restricts wagering from the location of a particular collegiate sporting event.
- Following a one-time application fee of $500, sports wagering registrants, including affiliates, no longer need to seek annual renewal and pay another $500 fee.
Tait indicated that the IGC reviewed and considered 21 comments to the draft rules, which were offered in July.
“The final piece to our launch puzzle is the adoption of these emergency rules,” Tait said. “We believe we have created a regulatory scheme that assures the integrity of sports wagering in Indiana and fulfills our statutory mandates.”
Gaming commission ready to mobilize for mobile
While no IN sports betting entity has proposed a mobile launch date yet, Tait said the commission is ready to pivot to mobile launch considerations. The thought is that mobile wagering is coming to Indiana sports betting soon.
“We have received mobile-related materials and submissions. We’ve had some things happen as related to mobile that are essential. GeoComply is now a licensed supplier, which is huge. The emergency rules already contemplate mobile. We’re all focused on retail right now, but we’ll be able to very quickly shift to mobile once that’s requested.”
More Indiana launch approvals to come
Two additional gaming facilities that proposed launch dates prior to the start of the NFL season were not included in the first batch of approvals:
- Winner’s Circle off-track betting in downtown Indianapolis (Sept. 3)
- Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City (Sept. 5)
Tait cautioned not to read anything into the delay.
“I don’t think the remaining proposals from operators are far off,” Tait said. “I think you’ll see us add retail launch authorizations for the remaining properties in short cause.”
According to the Indianapolis Star, other sportsbook openings expected in the next month include:
- Belterra Casino in Florence: Sept. 9
- Winner’s Circle off-track betting in Clarksville: Sept. 12
- Winner’s Circle off-track betting in New Haven: Sept. 19
- Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson: Sept. 19
- Tropicana Evansville: September
- Horseshoe Southern Casino in Elizabeth: September